Well, 2017 has been a bit of a rubbish year all round. Music has been one of the things that has kept me going, with some great gigs and listening to stuff at the same time as Twitter pals. These are my picks for the things that I heard for the first time in 2017.
Making America Great - Fold
This is positive, uplifting and hopeful in equal measure, and a powerful response to the current dumpster fire of American politics and culture.
Launch - Logan Gabriel
I first heard this on the soundtrack to a game called Spaceplan which takes a simple concept of growing potatoes on an alien planet and spins it into a fantastic story.
Vox Queen Vaccine - Tokyo Witch Hunt
Another perfect piece of electronica from Izzie Voodoo, a pal of mine from Barnsley.
South Carolina - Bill Foreman
Bill is a Twitter pal from the dusty part of the USA and it turns out he's a talented musician, conjuring up some moody images in a lo-fi vein.
Sweet Boy - Mouthfull
Andy McH is another Twitter pal and another talented musician, who it turns out was the lead singer in a queercore band called Mouthfull. This is a great song about unrequited love.
Five Kisses - John Otway
Yes, he's still going. This is from his latest crowdfunded album recorded in the famous Montserrat studios and is as full of his usual bounce and pathos.
My Name is Ruin - Gary Numan
Yes, he's still going. #numanaday was one of our listening projects this year, and it was a memorable journey finishing with his most recent album, themed around a post-apocalyptic climate ravaged wasteland.
Edith Piaf (Said it Better Than Me) - Sparks
Yes, they're still going. Another listening project, and another one where the latest album is among their best work. Great stuff.
Progress - Public Service Broadcasting
PSB have developed their technique of using found recordings by adding guest vocalists and a richer musical tapestry for this picture of coal mining in Wales, from the optimism of the post war years to the brutal pit closures and the strike, before finishing on a note of hope to be found in communities.
Certain Death - Nat Johnson
A Sheffield musician with a strong political message, and this is her hopeful response to the general election of 2017 which is all about standing together and working for a better future.
The Last Days - Michael Legge and Owen Parker
This will resonate with anyone who has ever had to say goodbye to a beloved pet, and seeing the live performance of this was certainly one of the funniest, strangest and most poignant musical events of the year for me.
Playlist links : Apple Music and Spotify